When Steve Jobs launched the App Store in 2008, he had no idea this marketplace for apps and games would turn out to be so big. A decade after its launch, the App Store now offers millions of apps with billions of apps that have been downloaded. With the App Store, Apple has not just created a new platform for distribution but also kick-started a startup revolution that didn’t exist before. Uber, Spotify, Snapchat and Instagram are all products of this App Store.
In recent years, Apple has been heavily relying on its App Store to drive its services business and cement its position in the smartphone market. The Cupertino tech major is attracting more developers and introducing new services so that people keep on purchasing its iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches. Here are the seven things you might not know about Apple’s App Store.
Steve Jobs resisted third-party apps for the iPhone
The App Store may be a smash hit, but Steve Jobs wasn’t initially convinced about the idea of having a third-party store for the iPhone. Instead of allowing developers to create native apps, Jobs wanted them to create web apps that would work on the iPhone. The reason was revealed in Walter Isaacson’s biography of former Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs.
Steve was not at all convinced that apps would favour the iPhone or its iOS ecosystem. Jobs, however, changed his mind after Apple board member Art Levinson and SVP of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller tried to change Jobs’ mind. Things changed soon after, and in October 2007 Apple announced that an SDK would be made available to developers. The App Store was launched on July 10, 2008.
The App Store was launched with 500 apps
When the App Store was launched in 2008, it only had 500 apps available to download in 62 countries. About 10 million apps were downloaded in the first weekend and by September, the store had surpassed 100 million. By September 2009 that number jumped to 2 billion, with more than 85,000 apps from 12,500 developers.
Pandora Radio was the most downloaded free app in 2008
Before Spotify or Apple Music, there was Pandora Radio that pioneered the internet music streaming revolution. In fact, it was one of the most downloaded free apps on the App Store in 2008. But in recent years Pandora Radio has struggled to increase its listener base.
Facebook top downloaded iOS app of all time
Despite all the controversies surrounding data privacy, Facebook remains the most popular app on the App Store, according to App Annie. Last year, market research firm App Annie compiled a list of apps that dominated the Apple App Store in the last decade. And Facebook took the crown as the most downloaded iPhone app of all time, followed by Facebook Messenger, YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, Google Maps, Snapchat and Skype, among others.
Games continue to be the most popular app category
With smartphone ownership growing, so is the rise of mobile gaming. According to market research firm App Annie, Games is the most popular category in the App Store. In the first three quarters of 2019, a total of 7.5 billion games were downloaded on the iOS App Store alone, representing 30 per cent of all the downloads on the iOS app store. Arcade, Action and Puzzle genres were the largest categories by total downloads in Q3 2019.
Apple bought music discovery platform Shazam in 2017
In 2017, Apple stunned the tech industry when it acquired Shazam, the London-based music recognition app, for an estimated $400 million. Not many are aware that Shazam was one of the first apps to hit Apple’s App Store in 2008. Co-founded in 2000 by a Stanford PhD holder Avery Wang, Shazam brings the technology to distinguish music from background noise.
The popular app had been downloaded more than 1 billion times and boasted 120 million active users before Apple’s acquired Shazam. Now, Shazam is integrated into Siri. You can ask Siri to find “what song is currently playing in the background’ and it will listen and provide a response with a link to Apple Music. Shazam continues to be available as a separate app on the Apple App Store, along with an Android app.
VIP Black is the most expensive app on the App Store
You know you are ultra-rich when can you buy VIP Black, a location-based luxury lifestyle app called VIP Black for Rs 79,990. VIP Black uses your location to find the finest restaurants, bars, butlers, clubs, and events near you.
Through partnerships with participating venues, members receive special VIP treatment like priority access, welcome packages and complimentary upgrades. If you are a celebrity, or a head honcho of a multinational company, VIP Black is your go-to app to book a private jet or a charter yacht. Now you know why the heck the VIP Black app is so expensive.
Disclaimer: The writer was in New York attending Apple’s first ‘Best Of 2019’ awards on the invite of Apple India.